Not All Mass Mortality Events are Equal

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Samantha Jean Sawyer , Micky D. Eubanks, Jeffery K. Tomberlin


Mass Mortality Events (MMEs) are defined as novel events involving many individuals dying in a relatively short period of time. In recent years, there has been an increased interest in MMEs due to their perceived increase in frequency. Current definitions are subjective and categorize mortalities varying in magnitude and frequency together. Within this manuscript, Multiple Mortality Events is a newly proposed term to involve multiple individuals dying but not overcoming ecosystem resistance and/or resilience sufficiently to elicit any long-term impact. The concept of “novelty” within MME definitions is dubious thus preventing defined parameters of such events. To address this issue, population dynamics of the species involved within the event, specifically the background death rate weighted against the number of individuals involved in the mortality and adjusted for background and experienced carrion biomasses are incorporated as parameters. This approach provides a numeric value for interpretation of novelty that can then be applied to mathematical models to predict various ecosystem outcomes. For example, this approach can be used in pulse models to identify pulse abruptness or be incorporated into new mathematical frameworks. Within, a modified logistic growth model has been developed to predict population outcomes of necrophagous ectotherms which can be used for further modeling in disease dynamics, conservation, and more.



Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Entomology, Environmental Microbiology and Microbial Ecology Life Sciences, Life Sciences, Microbiology, Population Biology


mass mortality events, Multiple Mortality Events, Population Dynamics, Scavenger, Resource Pulse, population dynamics, Scavenger, resource pulse


Published: 2024-03-14 03:21


CC-BY Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International

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